“Though we are free from the rulers, our mindsets are still cuffed around the belief of their superiority over ours”.
This is probably the reason why we let our ages old practice of Gurukuls be replaced by an education system that our modern society aligns its aspirations with. While a university degree could be considered a matter of personal or socio cultural choice, in our country anyone who has not made through 10 + 2 system is generally looked down upon.
Eventually the practice of imparting life skills in students was phased out by a system where rote learning is necessary to reach higher levels. Often in many cases this modern education system starts taking shape of class room based learning only with much focus and pressure on theoretical learnings widening the gap between life skills, physical health and only book based knowledge. Over time this system manifests itself as an increased gap between theory and practicality.
Not many changes or revisions had been made to NEP, barring a few. Education Policy directly impacts masses, education setups, education delivery and in the long run influences students of today who would be adult citizens and decision makers of tomorrow. Lack of periodic overhaul of this policy until now, led to reduction in fine tuning and refinement in prevailing education setup. As an indirect result of which we have started to see flourishing of private coaching institutions, unemployable educated youth and in several cases students have also taken extreme step of taking their lives due to non-performance on existing grading framework and associated social pressure.
NEP 2020 aims to address multifold challenges while integrating every corner of the country, proposing and laying focus on foundation and skill based learning setup which integrates universal education and emphasizes on medium and delivery of education. For the later teacher training and their skill upgradation forms an essential part of this policy.
Importance of foundational education
“Early investment in the right place will bear fruits in the future”. Over 85% of a child’s cumulative brain development occurs prior to the age of 6 . Therefore, initial years of a child are most important for their growth, be it the correct nutrition they need or the correct methodology of teaching they require in order to develop basic analytical skills.
Children who do not have access to such basic rights are generally from economically weaker sections. Two-thirds of people in India live in poverty . These are the people who struggle to come above the bottom most level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, hence cannot afford the education costs of their kids. To help such children and give them the same chances as afforded to the middle and upper classes, physical and usable infrastructure must be provided. This will promote education. Daycare facilities or Aanganwadis can be this infrastructure which could give wings to the students.
The upcoming National Education Policy has recognized lack of such infrastructure and have addressed this issue in the initial most phase of implementation of this policy in the country. The idea is to reach out to the remotest parts of country with such facilities and uplift the economically weaker sections in terms of basic education for their children. Also, various incentives are proposed to encourage skilled and trained teachers to work in such places, so that there is no compromise in the quality of education for such children.
Significance of vocational training
Communities and cultures have evolved over hundreds of years and they will continue to do so but they should keep their identities safe and intact; so, while it is important to match pace with the world and learn new ways of life, it is equally important to stay linked and rooted to essential vocations that evolved from traditional wisdom.
It has always been a challenge to match a common delivery frame work pan India with local vocational skills. While a common education system is essential, it should not erode the local skills that have been source of livelihood to communities for generations.
Inclusion of vocational training in school will not only preserve the identity of regional and local communities but also impart practical knowledge in students and empower them with a choice in life if they cannot find a career in the books. This will also ensure a stable work flow for such local trainers and will encourage them to continue their practice in the specific skill and keep it alive rather than shifting to something else just for some extra money.
Efficiency of teachers
The profession of teaching has seen one of the worst debacles in our country. While the teachers in olden days were considered superior to God, the current scenario is a reflection of times when not many want to choose teaching as a profession. For a large number of educators, teaching no longer is done by choice or self-interest, rather many people engage in it due to a lack of these. Non motivated educators, poor compensation, in many cases unsafe and unhygienic working conditions and almost nil chances of personal growth lead to lack of accountability. All of this brings us to state of education and teachers we see today.
Perceiving the devaluation of profession, the new education policy has proposed measures to ensure optimum level of expertise and qualification of the educators in school. There are provisions of distant learning programs that can be taken by the people who wish to join the profession or upskill themselves to be eligible to teach higher grades. This is done to ensure easy and efficient training for people who wish to contribute to the profession of teaching. Also, various rewards and incentives have been recommended for the teachers who can introduce new and innovative ways of imparting knowledge in their students.